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Graph matching: TES Maths Resource of the Week

To see all of the work I do for TES Maths, including Resource of the Week, Inspect the Spec, Pedagogy Place, Maths Newsletters and Topic Collections, please visit the TES Maths Blog here

What is it?
For me, there are two distinct skills involving in conquering graphs at GCSE, whether they be straight lines, quadratics, cubics or reciprocals. The first is the ability to plot points and draw graphs from a table of values. This requires students to be competent in algebraic substitution, and is something that most students are able to grasp. However, in my opinion, by far the more difficult skill is to be able to sketch a graph from its equation. In other words, to be able to understand the significance of each component of that equation and what it means for the shape, direction and axes crossing points of the resulting graph. Such a skill is crucial both at GCSE and A Level, and this resource is absolutely perfect for helping students develop it. Given a selection of graphs, students must match their question to the sketch. And as an extra twist, there is one equation that does not match-up, and a blank set of axes just crying out to be filled in with the relevant sketch.

How can it be used?
This resource covers straight line graphs, quadratics that are in completed the square and factorised format, and the new range of non-linear graphs students need to know for GCSE. So, it is perfectly possible to pick out the relevant activity to use with each class after a topic has been covered – straight line graphs with Year 8s, quadratics with 10s, for example. However, for me the power of this activity is when it is used in its entirety, for that is when connections between straight line graphs and quadratics are made, and a more thorough, wide-ranging understanding of graphs and their equations can develop. As such, this is the ideal revision activity to use with a group of Higher tier Year 11 GCSE students in the build up to their exams, and with A Level students in the first week of their course. Set them off on the challenge, and fire up Desmos when going through the answers.

Thanks so much for sharing
Craig Barton

Download: Graphs matching
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